Creating the conditions for human division and structural inequality
The foundation of Singapore’s education policy
While Singapore’s education system claims to implement meritocratic ideals, official statistics indicate that Malay students in Singapore have been underperforming when compared to other ethnic groups (MOE 2012). This statistical representation raises the possibility of a politically induced, systemic inequality as a point of investigation. To investigate this seeming contradiction between the rhetoric and practice of equal educational opportunity, this paper proposes a philosophical and analytical synthesis for examining the 1979 policy report that provides the fundamental basis for Singapore’s streaming education system. In examining this policy development, the analysis draws upon a combination of Foucault’s archaeological method and Critical Discourse Analysis as a way of understanding conditions that made possible the continuous re-construction of new but unequal representation of learners. The findings suggest that complex relations between capability identification, justice, and ethics set the conditions for the appearance and transformation of subject positions necessary to legitimise unequal structural access.